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Integrated Equine Bodywork - The Masterson Method

This method was developed to improve performance in athletic horses at high level competition. However, because of allowing the interaction and participation of all horses of any discipline, even retired, pasture pets and happy hackers benefit from this form of body work.

Why do horses need bodywork?

We need to think about the horse in its true nature, where he makes choices, where he is connected to who he his, where he knows his own mind and body. Living in our world we have taken away all his choices. We choose where he lives, what he eats and drinks and when. We choose his friends, how he dresses, what sport we would like him to perform.


And just like us, repetitive work, pain, lameness or compensation for any discomfort causes tension patterns in the body that then relate to psychological and emotional strain that then result in a loss of willingness and behavior problems. This results in trauma. Trauma is a disconnection to one self.


Using the Masterson Method of body work, we are giving the horse a choice. We are not doing it to him; we are allowing him to choose and participate, and therefore reconnect to his own body, which allows him to feel empowered.

How does it work?

Survival Instinct and the Horse Languages: This method works so well because of the horse's incredible awareness and sensitivity to outside stimuli. This is how he survives. Working with this sensitivity, you can access a level of the horse's nervous system that enables him to release deep stress in his muscles, connective tissue and structure.


We need to be aware of  two underlying principles. 1.) As a prey animal, the horse's first survival instinct in nature depends on his ability to flee. If he does not have this option, his second survival response is to brace, or push up against or guard against, hold himself in tension. 2.) As a herd animal, the horse relies on body language for communication within the herd. This can be seen from the most obvious flattening of ears and baring of teeth to the slightest softening of the eye, shift of weight, change in breathing and many more even subtler signs.


By using levels of pressure that the horses defense system does not internally resist we can then begin to work together alleviating soreness, strain and tension, also deepening the bond of trust between horse and human. 

Myofascia Releasing Therapy

Myofascia Release for equines is a form of soft un­invasive hands on body work. The equine must give his approval for all releases and integrations. Both myofascia release work and cranial sacral work are direct hand contact with connective tissue.

The term 'Soma Emotional Recall and Release' was developed by John Upledger in 1983. Connective tissue is known to have a memory. When the body experiences a traumatic event the energy enters the body and often gets stuck, and becomes a block to the bodies natural energy flow. This is often called an energy cyst. Equines often hold trauma in energy cysts in myofascial tissue that has become restricted. When offering the horse this form of bodywork the value of full soma emotional recall can not be overestimated.


Unlike humans who have access to entertainment, horses live focused on their body and athletic ability. It is a worrisome stressful time for a horse when he cannot move well or has pain. He cannot watch a movie or sink a glass of wine for distraction. His attitude towards work will sour and he will loose confidence in his athletic abilities which creates continual anxiety.


For many horses 1 to 4 sessions are enough to completely clear old compensations and injury patterns.

Your equine will regain all his potential, and his attitude will be vibrant and happy.

Scar Tissue Release




After 3rd session

Scar tissue is formed as part of the normal healing process. It inevitably forms when any of our bodies tissue is damaged. Most people understand scars that form as a result of a cut, as they are easy to see. However scar also forms internally when we injure our muscles, ligaments and tendons. Internal scar tissue can affect many parts of the body and could reduce blood supply to vital organs. A scar can also pinch meridians.

The gelding scar is probably the most common. Catches, touches the cremasteric muscle, the tendon or a remnant of the artery or vein in the scar, and may cause restriction in movement in some direction. The tissues are not longer free to slide and glide. The cremasteric muscle raises and lowers the testicles in a male horse since it is an offshoot of the oblique abdominal muscles. If part of the cremasteric muscle is scarred into gelding scar, it will cause a nagging pull into his sheath on movement.

And example is seeing the horse kicking at imaginary flies.

The coup de lance can also cause pressure in the muscle, it is formed in the utero/womb by the front hoof, pushing into the neck and causing a divot whilst the foal is growing.

Scar cause different types of restriction, tugging sensation, stabbing sensation, tightness and stiffness.


There are always memories involved.

Trained in scar release by Alastair Mcloughlin, the techniques I use allow the body to release the tension and the negative memories.

Cranial Sacral Therapy

Cranial Sacral therapy focuses on the gentle release of the myo fascia tissue in the skull. Electron microscopy shows that the skull bones of the horse are not fused. We can see nerves and blood vessels passing through synovial and joint material. We can see wear lines indicating that the bones move in a regular pattern with one another.


Most horses at some time in their life have banged their heads for one reason or another. For many, the first time the halter was introduced was in itself a traumatic experience causing unnatural forces on the skull. Therefore cranial imbalance is common for many horses. This brings a host of behavioral and functional problems.


Benefits of cranial releases include:


  • Relief from defensiveness of the ears and or the poll.

  • Asymmetrical features are re aligned.

  • Mental focus improves

  • Anxiety patterns relieved.

Essential Oils Therapy

About essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile essences of plants. They possess individual qualities that can heal and balance the body mind and spirit.
Through the centuries, people have been using essential oils for medicinal or therapeutic treatments.

In their natural environment, horses have access to a wide variety of medicinal  plants and minerals. When their health becomes out of balance, they use their innate ability to naturally select what the need from mother natures medicine cabinet in order to prevent disease and promote their well being, or heal an injury, by either eating, sniffing, rolling or pawing on the chosen plant.

Essential Oil Therapy works on the principles that the horse knows how to heal itself before the symptoms become apparent.
Offering appropriate oils and minerals to your horse depending on condition and ailment helps with a wide range of issues and disorders, including  the release of emotional trauma, immune system boosting, and the healing of wounds.

How do the essential oils work ?
When inhaled, essential oils activate olfactory receptors in the horses brain, which are then transformed into nerve impulses and sent to the brains limbic region. This in turn can have an effect on physiological, hormonal and behavioural responses in the horse.

During a session selected  oils are offered one at a time to the horse, who will naturally select what he needs, he may choose to sniff, even bite at the bottle.  Once the horse has selected its range of preferred oils, which can range from one to several, the oils should be offered on a daily basis until the horse no longer chooses them.

It is important to remember each horse is unique.
An oil  must never be forced on the horse or put in its feed.
Only the highest quality oils which are pure and organic should be used for maximum effect.

Equine Iridology

By looking into the eyes of the horse, we can see which part of the body is causing pain or discomfort to the animal and, generally, the cause of it. Changes in the iris occur weeks before a problem manifests itself.

Sometimes a simple change of diet is all that is required, on other occasions more complicated treatment. The eyes of the horse will also reveal the sites of old injuries which may or may not still be affecting the horse's performance.

Trained by Ellen Collinson, iridology is a diagnostic tool that allow us to see "into the body" and is potentially part of preventive health care for your horse.


The reading can also be done remotely with a simple set of photographs.


Clients feedback

From Julie Green :

"Monica Goold is too be highly recommend as a Masterson Method Practitioner. Monica has amazing feel and together with her intuitive skills, and extensive knowledge,I would advise those with, what might seemingly be irresolvable, problems , to ask for her help to treat their horses.
Julie Green MMCP & British Dressage List 3 Judge."

"Dear Monica, I worked with Sam this morning and found him exceptional relaxed (attitude and riding/walking/in his back) and alert. He did not ‘snap’ at me when I put his saddle on. This has happened before but not during the last two months). I have had no response from Hermien (his ‘personal trainer’ J ) yet but will inform as soon as I have spoken to her. From Sam and me…thanks so far, we are very happy with the results!"

"Dearest Monica,  Such a beautiful summary ... how can we ever thank you enough? 
Reading through your evaluation, I realize how little we know about the true feelings of animals and the long way humanity still has in this regard. The only way to cope (i guess) is to take things one step at a time...inspire others who hopefully follow the same path of seeing animals differently.

I do believe though that the story of Shivau is not yet over. 
He is leading the way from being locked up, to overcome gradually his fears to (now) making his first steps to more freedom and become a true horse.
Humanity will need to follow the same gradual path, of unlocking ourselves from so many limited free ourselves from fear and move towards freedom and full potential. 

If Shivau can do it, we all can do. 

Love you dearly and thank you SO MUCH Monica, I hope and trust this is the beginning of a long friendship.  en om te bewerken."

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